“The Great and Terrible Judgments of the Lord”: Destruction and Disaster in 3 Nephi and the Geology of Mesoamerica

Review of Jerry D. Grover, Jr., Geology of the Book of Mormon. Vineyard, UT: Self-Published, 2014. 233 pp. +xi, including index and references. $39.99.

Abstract: Over recent decades, several Latter-day Saint scholars and scientists have offered analysis and comparison to geologic events and the destruction recorded in 3 Nephi 8-9. Jerry Grover makes an important contribution to this literature as he provides background on geologic processes and phenomena, details the geologic features of the Tehuantepec region (Mesoamerica), and applies this information to not only the description of 3 Nephi 8-9, but other incidents in the Book of Mormon likely connected to geologic events. In doing so, Grover yields new insights into the narratives he examines, and adds clarity to geographic details that have been subject to varying interpretations. Continue reading

Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives

INTRODUCTION

Providing another witness of Jesus Christ is the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon. His teachings are the central reason for this sacred Book. Within the Book of Mormon itself evidences are provided which attest to its truthfulness. This includes some of the animals mentioned as well as plants, materials (raw and manufactured), culture(s), words used and more. The degree of consistency concerning all these topics in our view overwhelmingly indicates that Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon of his own knowledge. Even the most informed experts of his day would not have known much about the archaeological or other scientific details given in this Book. At age 22, when Joseph Smith Jr. first began translating the gold plates, he had but a smattering of formal education. In his own words, “Deprived of the bennifit of an education, suffice it to say I was merely instructttid in reading and writing and the ground <rules> of Arithmatic which const[it]uted my whole literary attainments.”1  His wife Emma observed that at the time he translated the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith, “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon.”2 Continue reading